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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

A Productivity Junkie’s Guide to Overcoming Lack of Time

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A Productivity Junkie’s Guide to Overcoming Lack of Time

There are days when it seems like there weren’t 24 hours in the day. It’s like the hours are disappearing or the clocks are running faster. Sorry to break it to you, but none of this is happening. The lack of time that you’re experiencing is just an illusion.

Your concern about not having enough time in the 24 hours in a day is not invalid. You’re not alone. However, the responsibility for fixing this issue is on your shoulders.

What you need to do is learn to manage what you’ve been given. Of course, no one can add an extra hour to the day. But what you can do is use every minute to your benefit.

If you struggle in dealing with a lack of time, you’ve come to the right place!

Why Do You Feel Like Having a Lack of Time?

Lack of time is experienced when certain bad habits take over your routine. These habits are unintentional, and you may not even realize that they are connected to your lack of productivity.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of these habits that are the most common among people who tend to complain of a lack of time. Once you’re aware of these causes, you can work to eliminate the problem from its roots.

1. Lack of Sleep or Oversleeping

You know how when your smart devices aren’t working, so you restart them and they start to work fine? Well, the human equivalent of that is sleeping.

Sleeping allows your body and mind to refresh. It gives you back all the drained energy and provides a fresh start for the new day. However, it needs to be done right. What this means is that you should sleep just the right amount. Six to eight hours of sleep is the ideal range for adults.

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Lack of sleep leads to a lack of productivity. Similarly, oversleeping will keep you lazy throughout the day. Adopt healthy sleeping habits.

More importantly, you should sleep comfortably. Have a nice, relaxing bed where you can sleep in a comfortable posture. Try to keep the temperature of the room optimal so that you’re not disturbed through the night. If you find sunlight disturbing, use an eye mask while sleeping. If you have noisy neighbors, use earplugs. Do all that you can to give yourself the best night’s sleep every night.

2. Multitasking

This might be a surprise for a lot of you. Multitasking is not a way to be efficient or productive. In fact, it is the polar opposite. Your brain can focus on only one thing at a time.[1] If you force it to focus on more, it fails to perform well in either task.

It is proven that multitasking slows down your brain performance. Your brain is unable to focus on either of the tasks that you’re multitasking. So, you end up spending more time completing them, and the results aren’t your best performance either.

Tackling two different tasks, even if they’re closely related, messes up with your mind. The ideas and requirements for both the tasks get mixed up. You risk your performance, quality of work, and end up wasting your precious time too. All in all, multitasking is not worth the risk at all.

3. Working Non-Stop

What’s the best way to do more in less time? Most would say working non-stop in one go shall do the trick. Well, the truth is, if you go on and work continuously, you’re only wasting your time. Your productivity and motivation are affected due to the constant strain on your mind.

This way, you’re not utilizing time to its maximum because your brain slows down and you need more time to finish tasks that would otherwise require lesser time.

A better approach is to work with breaks. You shouldn’t feel guilty about these breaks in your workday. Instead, look at these time slots as a source of refreshing your brain. A 5-minute break every couple of hours is just enough to recharge your energy levels and bring that the motivation you need to quickly finish off your work.

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4. Distractions

Working in an environment full of distractions is one of the biggest reasons that gives you a sense of a lack of time. You end up staring out your window, looking for your favorite pen, or doing something completely pointless instead of spending time finishing what you’re supposed to.

The best way to minimize your lack of time is to set up a productive workspace. If you’re working from home, designate a specific space for your work where you don’t sleep or relax. This space should only be for work.

If you’re in an office, have all your essentials within reach. A water bottle, a snack, stationery, notes, chargers, devices that you need, and everything else that you could possibly need during work should be near your workspace. This will keep you from wasting time or breaking your workflow.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Day

On top of getting rid of the aforementioned causes, you can also add some more healthy practices to your routine to get the most out of the day. These tips will eradicate the lack of time that you’re facing otherwise.

1. Have an Organized Plan

Starting the day with a plan is one great tip to avoid a lack of time. A well-planned to-do list is one of the secrets of the most successful people in the world.

If you can put all your tasks of the day and week in a calculated plan, you will end up utilizing your time way more effectively. You can use some very simple yet fool-proof strategies to devise a to-do list that will work wonders for you.

A plan or to-do list works like your assistant. It reminds you exactly what needs to be done, when your work is due, how long each task should take, and where you can adjust urgent or unexpected work.

2. Prioritize

Prioritization is something you should adopt even if you don’t experience the illusion of a lack of time. If you do have a lack of time, you shouldn’t skip it at all! This is the simple technique of what’s most important on top.

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For example, start your day with the task that you know needs to be to be finished by the end of the day. The ones that will either take less time or aren’t due right away can be pushed to later days.

Prioritizing also needs to be included in other parts of your life. So, prioritize your work and personal life to maintain a balance. This makes your overall life convenient and easier to manage.

Learn more about prioritization: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

3. Avoid Procrastination

You may think you’re not a procrastinator. But if you think there’s a lack of time, then procrastination is a contributing habit.

Maybe not consciously, but you push your tasks to the last minute. You fail to stay attentive, which is why you have to spend more time on minor jobs too. Focus is hard to gain but easy to lose.

All these are signs of procrastination. If you want to eradicate the lack of time from your life, you have to get rid of procrastination as well. Luckily, you can find a lot of easy tips and strategies online to do so.

4. Improve Time Management

It all comes down to time management. This skill is the magic wand that helps you use every hour of the day. It may sound pretty simple. You do use all the hours in the day already. However, if you sit down and calculate how much time you’ve actually used in the day, you’ll realize that you waste more than half of your time.

Time-management is what keeps you from wasting this uncalculated time. It is the skill that gives you the power to be productive through every minute. Moreover, if you can learn to manage your time, you’ll automatically avoid procrastination, too.[2]

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With this skill alone, you’ll notice a huge difference in terms of the lack of time that you were experiencing beforehand.

Bottom Line

In the end, one thing is for sure: there is no such thing as a lack of time. You’re the one who either puts the time to use or lets it go to waste.

If you can keep yourself from wasting the defined hours of the day in the wrong areas and utilize them efficiently, you’ll have plenty of time to manage all that you need to.

The tips that you’ve learned today are priceless. In a world like this, time is money. With the knowledge that you’ve gained, you’re on your way to endless wealth and productivity!

So, start using these tips to improve your life by utilizing every second of the day. Get on with this new lifestyle to conquer anything and everything in this world!

More Productivity Tips

Featured photo credit: Andy Beales via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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